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Biochem J. 1989 Jan 15; 257(2): 555–559.
PMCID: PMC1135614

A role of metallothionein in zinc regulation after oestradiol induction of vitellogenin synthesis in rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri.


The regulation of metallothionein (MT) biosynthesis in rainbow-trout liver was studied after a single intraperitoneal injection of oestradiol-17 beta. Sampling was performed after 2, 7, 14, 21, 28 and 35 days. Following induction of vitellogenin synthesis in the liver, liver somatic index (LSI) rose from 1.25 to 2.00 in 14 days. Associated with the increase in LSI was an elevation of hepatic vitellogenin mRNA and zinc concentrations. The vitellogenin mRNA concentrations peaked at 7 days after treatment. The zinc concentrations increased to a peak at day 14. MT was analysed by using differential pulse polarography and a rainbow-trout MT RNA probe. The MT mRNA concentrations rose after 14 days and remained elevated at 21 and 28 days. The MT concentrations increased after 14 days and remained elevated throughout the experimental period. The concentrations of MT-bound zinc increased in association with the elevation in MT concentrations in the oestradiol-treated rainbow trout. These findings indicate that MT is involved in the regulation of zinc during the period of vitellogenin induction and that MT may function by maintaining the pool of available zinc at an appropriate concentration.

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